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HOTEL FIRE NEW JOURNAL-112
 

City closes down Brunswick Hotel

July 8th, 2009

Guests were turned away from the Brunswick Hotel on Wednesday by order of the City Bureau of Fire. Yellow signs were posted by the City Bureau of Code Compliance and Inspections on doors and windows announcing:

“NOTICE! THIS STRUCTURE IS UNSAFE AND ITS OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE CODE OFFICIAL.”

According to Brunswick managing partner Hamid Zahedi, the Fire Department notified the Brunswick “out of blue” that they would have to close down due to fire code violations. According to Zahedi, the contractors he had hired to implement the City’s requirements were originally told by the City that they had until the end of June complete their work. This was not at all feasible, so one of Zahedi’s contractors spoke with City officials and allegedly received an extension until September.

If so, that verbal commitment went out the window today.

The Brunswick had recently completed the refurbishment of 136 rooms which they felt was an adequate number to serve current demand.

Zahedi expressed particular concern for the thirty employees who were suddenly out of work.

A veteran builder/properties manager expressed surprise that the hotel was suddenly shut down. He said that either a violation was of such danger that closing would be required immediately and not delayed a month, or, if there was no immediate endangerment, an order to close down would be issued only if reasonable efforts were not being made to correct violations.

 
Fire Bureau’s explanation of Brunswick closing

Posted on July 9th, 2009

Fire Marshal, Lt. Thomas Paul, who oversaw yesterday’s inspection and subsequent closing of the Brunswick Hotel:

* According to Paul, in the course of projects like the Brunswick’s renovation and alarm system upgrade, it is customary for a code official/inspector to visit the site as often as once each week. He said that yesterday’s inspection was of special thoroughness because of the passed deadline. Yesterday’s visit was, essentially, an attempt to determine whether the existing system could serve as a sufficient “band-aid” until the required system could be installed. And, in the course of this more thorough inspection, a number of problems unrelated to the alarm system were discovered.
* Paul indicated that the fire alarm system was not the sole citation that lead to closing the hotel. In fact, according to Paul, most of the “life safety concerns” were discovered in the last 24 hours. As Paul puts it, “the whole was equal to the sum of its parts”
* Because the Brunswick is privately owned, Paul did not want to dispense detailed information regarding the cited hazards. He encouraged me to speak with Zahedi to gather this information.
* Paul mentioned that one major problem had to do with the fire-resistance of some of the 9-story building’s vertical shafts (elevators, stairwells, laundry shoots.)
* Paul asserted that the passing of the June 30 deadline was not the sole reason for closing the hotel. If that had been the only issue, Paul said, the Bureau most likely would have simply issued a citation.
* Regarding the June 30 deadline, Paul said that it had been the last of many prior extensions.
* Paul maintained that the problems discovered yesterday were sufficient reason to close the hotel. Had they known about these particular issues sooner, Paul said, the hotel would have been immediately closed, as it was yesterday.

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